Ingots and Ingrates
- Touchez Pas Au Grisbi review by CH
A heist has taken place. That is stock in trade for a film noir. What distinguishes Jacques Becker's Touchez pas au grisbi (1954) from others is that there is no rush to dispose of the goods, indeed the gold. The ingots can bide their time as smartly-dressed Monsieur Big (Jean Gabin) decides when to bow out quietly from an illicit trade, and enjoy a less anxious life.
Here are women (including Jeanne Moreau) as curved as the smart automobiles whose whitewall tyres ply the Paris streets from one night club to another. Trouble is that Gabin's accomplice, René Dary, has let slip sufficient to his girlfriend just as she is tiring of him; she does not lose time in telling others of the wealth to be had for a little rough-handed asking.
Such is the plot, and it does not lack for gunfire - and quite a climax -, but, as much as anything, here - on a second viewing - is a study in loyalty (it was, predictably, released here as Honour among Thieves). For all the action, this is a reflective story, taken from a novel by Albert Simonin (and there are indeed elements akin to the dur novels by his near-namesake). He wrote two more in this series. Both were filmed, but do not appear to have the réclame of this one, which is so good that one feels inspired to seek them out.
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